Covid: child will get final say on vaccination if disagreement with parents, says Health Secretary Sajid Javid

The UK’s chief medical officers are currently reviewing the wider benefits of giving 12 to 15-year-olds the Covid vaccine

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said children will get the final say on Covid vaccinations if a disagreement arises between them and their parents.

Mr Javid said a child “will prevail”  if they are believed to be competent enough to make the decision regarding the coronavirus jab.

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At a glance: 5 key points

  • Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said he expects to hear from the UK’s chief medical officers in the next few days on their views as to whether there should be a mass rollout of a Covid vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds
  • He said children will get the final say over whether to receive a jab if they are deemed competent enough to make the decision
  • Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi recently said parental consent will be required if the government decides that all 12 to 15-year-olds should be offered the jab
  • The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) decided against recommending COVID vaccines for all 12 to 15-year-olds
  • The UK’s chief medical officers are currently reviewing the wider benefits of giving 12 to 15-year-olds the Covid vaccine

What’s been said

The Health Secretary told Sky News: “I want to give them the breathing space, it’s their independent view and that’s exactly what it should be. But I would expect to hear from them in the next few days.”

Asked how he would feel about children of that age group of his own having jabs, he said: “I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to pass a judgment because I’m waiting for an independent view.”

He said consent will be sought from parents of 12 to 15-year-olds as it has been “for decades”, but if a child is believed to be competent enough to make the decision they “will prevail”.

He said: “If there is a difference of opinion between the child and the parent then we have specialists that work in this area, the schools vaccination service. They would usually literally sit down with the parent and the child, and try to reach some kind of consensus.

“If ultimately that doesn’t work, as along as we believe that the child is competent enough to make this decision then the child will prevail.”

Background

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) recently decided against recommending Covid vaccines for all 12 to 15-year-olds on health grounds, due to the virus presenting such a low risk to them.

However, the UK’s chief medical officers are currently reviewing the wider benefits of giving this age group the jab, such as reducing school absences. They are expected to present their findings within the next few days.